When your normal routine is no longer the same, keeping up with healthy habits can become a real challenge. 

Associate Professor Lauren Ball

Our lifestyles have recently been tipped upside down dramatically, as Australia works together to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Aside from the isolation and lack of structure, eating well can be hard when working from home.

Leading dietitian, Associate Professor Lauren Ball from the Menzies Health Institute Queensland says that while working from home might seem like a dream come true at first, it can often impact our diet. 

“The change in routine we are all experiencing has the potential to cause changes in daily habits, including the way we eat” she says.

“Working remotely has removed the structures and routines of a shared workplace. Some people might eat more often throughout the day, which makes our food choices even more important.”   

To make the most of this time, Associate Professor Ball shares her top five tips for maintaining healthy eating habits while working from home.  

Start the day right 
Whether you’re working from home or the office, breakfast is an important meal. Filling up on a nutritious breakfast will set your eating tone for the rest of the day and help combat mid-morning snack urges. Wholesome breakfast dishes include oats, eggs, fresh fruit and yoghurt.  

Keep hydrated  
Water is crucial for our body to stay healthy and maintain optimum function, including your heart, brain and muscles.  Keeping a glass of water (or a drink bottle) on your work desk can be a gentle reminder to drink more water and helps with unnecessary snacking too.  

Source local, fresh food

Incorporating shopping for healthy food and making time for food preparation is still important even though our routine has changed. Use the opportunity to get out of the house to walk or drive to the shops to ensure you have fresh fruit and vegetables in good supply each day. One of the benefits of the COVID-19 restrictions is that locally produced food should be more accessible than ever before. Try having some pre-prepared snacks in the fridge, such as chopped fruit and vegetables, healthy dips like hummus and natural yoghurt, as well as some pantry staples like wholegrain crackers. 

Don’t work in (or near) your kitchen 

If possible, try to set up your workstation in an area that’s not near your kitchen. Keep your fridge and pantry out of sight to help limit those temptations to check for food (for the eighth time that morning). 

Are you really hungry?  
Before you head straight to the fridge, it’s important to check in with yourself first to make sure you’re not eating because of boredom, stress or loneliness. Opting for snacks that are nutritious and fibre-rich will leave you feeling satisfied and fuller for longer. Remember too, that sometimes a craving for food is an indication of being dehydrated—drink a glass of water first.

For more information about Associate Professor Lauren Ball’s research, please visit the Healthy Primary Care website.

If you’d like to learn more about encouraging healthy relationships with food, consider a career in nutrition and dietetics with one of our many degrees.